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Disciplinary Procedures

Refs
The FIT rules set out a continuum of sanctions that can be used in case of problems with discipline or misconduct during a match, from verbal warnings to dismissal from the game.

Remember that if you send a player off for the remainder of the game or cite any player, you should complete the Referee Incident Report Sheet (document below) and email it to us at refs@englandtouch.org.uk so that a proper record is kept and in case of further review of the incident. The sheet should be completed as soon as possible after the match has finished and include the comments of all those officiating the match.

You can also contact us to discuss any incidents and should complete the abuse report form if you witness abuse (even if you aren’t reffing).

Abuse is the number one reason why referees leave our sport, which is why every participant (referees, players and spectators) needs to deal with it immediately.

If you witness abuse, please talk to the tournament organiser or a senior referee immediately. Alternatively, contact the ETA Referee Committee at refs@englandtouch.org.uk or complete the abuse report form, which can be done anonymously and by referees, players, spectators or other participants.

Referee abuse includes comments, gestures or behaviour that is offensive, indicates disagreement with a decision or puts in doubt the referee’s impartiality. Abuse has no place in our sport. Ever.

Example of abuse are:

  • Players loudly and openly disputing decisions
  • Players calling for decisions, e.g. a defender calling a pass forward, or an attacker claiming the defender was offside
  • Many players running towards the referee, for whatever reason
  • Players disagreeing with an explanation given by a referee after a ruling
  • Swearing, even if not directed at the referee
  • Insulting the referee, even if not directed at the referee

This does NOT mean that players should never talk to the referee, as referees should always be open and approachable. A player can politely ask a referee for clarification on a ruling, to which the referee should answer clearly and concisely. If the player understands the explanation (whether they agree or not!), that’s it and play continues. There is no time for a debate or discussion.

General principles

These codes have been written for any player, coach, match official, parent and/or spectator participating in any England Touch membership or affiliated event.

These rules are designed to ensure that any member of England Touch or any associated individual understands and appreciates their role and the behaviour expected of them. England Touch wishes for all players to find enjoyment in the sport and fulfil their aspirations in a safe and positive environment which these rules and codes seek to set out.

Touch is an inclusive sport and England Touch is committed to its core values of:

Inclusive | Transparent | Ambitious | United | Respectful

All England Touch members will agree to:

  • Respect the rights, dignity and worth of every person regardless of their age, ethnic origin, gender, special needs, including learning and physical disabilities, class or social background, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, colour or political persuasion.
  • Discourage all instances of unsporting behaviour
  • Safeguard the wellbeing of children (those under 18) and protect them from abuse and poor practice

Breaches of this code of conduct may result in disciplinary action. 

Players

As a coach you should
  • Play for enjoyment with sportsmanship in mind at all times
  • Respect the referee at all times. Respect your opponent. Respect your teammates and respect your coach
  • Treat all other players as you yourself would wish to be treated. Do not interfere with, bully or take unfair advantage of any player
  • Shake hands with and thank the opposition players and officials after the game whatever the result
  • Observe the laws of the game and always respect the match official’s decision
  • Work as hard for your team as for yourself. Share failures and celebrate success
  • Encourage honest and open competition
  • Participate as a member of a team to achieve the ETA's goals and objectives
  • Control your emotions. Do not lose your temper
  • Safeguard your health
  • Be focussed and attentive at all training and coaching sessions
  • Care for and respect the facilities and equipment made available to you during training and competition
  • Adhere to the Core Values of the game at all times

Coach

As a coach you should
  • Lead by example
  • Insist on fair and disciplined play. Actively discourage foul play, unsportsmanlike behaviour, dissent or querying of referee decisions by players
  • Encourage players to respect and accept the judgement of the Match Officials
  • Create a safe and enjoyable environment in which to play and train
  • Treat all players as equals, regardless of their talent
  • Ensure all participants are given fair opportunities regardless of ability, gender, sexual orientation, cultural background or religion – condemning unsporting behaviour and promoting respect for all participants. Maximise participation and enjoyment for all players regardless of ability
  • Maintain appropriate, professional relationships with players at all times
  • Ensure that equipment and facilities meet safety standards of the age, sex and ability of your team
  • Ensure that you undertake all relevant training for your role and are up to date with all the relevant policies and procedures
  • Be reasonable in your demands on the players’ time, energy and enthusiasm
  • Ensure that all sick and injured players are given appropriate attention and do not play without them seeking advice of a doctor
  • Always ensure that the health, safety and wellbeing of the players is paramount
  • At all times adhere to the Core Values of the game

Match officials

As a match official you should
  • Abide by the Referees Code of Conduct
  • Ensure that you undertake all relevant training for your role and are up to date with all the relevant policies and procedures
  • Discourage foul play and/or unsporting behaviour by players
  • Maximise participation and enjoyment for all players regardless of ability
  • Treat all players as equals, regardless of their talent
  • Always ensure that the health, safety and wellbeing of the players is paramount
  • Maintain appropriate, professional relationships with players/referees at all times
  • Participate as a member of a team to achieve the ETAs goals and objectives
  • As a match official, conduct yourself at all times and in all situations, in a manner, that demonstrates leadership, respect for the game of Touch and respect for all those that are involved in the game – the players, coaches, supporters, the parents
  • At all times adhere to the Core Values of the game

Parents and spectators

As a parent or spectator you should
  • Do not force an unwilling child to participate in sport.
  • Always show RESPECT. Respect individual differences of people and treat others as you would like to be treated..
  • Remember that children participate in Touch for their own enjoyment, not yours!
  • Respect the match official’s decisions
  • Encourage players to play by the rules and to respect opposition players and officials.
  • Respect all players involved in a game and respect their efforts.
  • Participate in positive cheering that encourages all the players in the team
  • Share concerns, if they have them, with Club officials

Volunteers and administrators

All volunteers and administrators have a responsibility to
  • Ensure that clubs are managed and that all activities are supervised by appropriately qualified staff recruited through the appropriate process and selection checks
  • Ensure that you undertake all relevant training for your role and are up to date with policies and procedures
  • Ensure that all staff understand and adhere to the relevant Code of Conduct
  • Ensure that all equipment and facilities meet safety standards
  • Encourage all participants to remember that sport is enjoyed for its own sake
  • Participate as a member of a team to achieve the ETAs goals and objectives.
  • At all times adhere to the Core Values of the game

Children and Young People

Children and young people agree to
  • Do their best at all times
  • Encourage and support team mates who make mistakes
  • Never argue with the referee
  • Always listen to the coach
  • Play as a team
  • Welcome all new players, from all backgrounds, whether or not they have played before
  • Treat everyone with respect
  • Never take part in any bullying

If a player is deemed to have broken the above code of conduct by a match, tournament, or governing body (ETA) official, they may be subject to the following disciplinary action.

If a player has been repeatedly Force Substituted for behavioural or unsporting conduct within a tournament, and is reported by MORE THAN ONCE, the player and their club should expect a letter of warning from the ETA and the player in question may be suspended during the next tournament equivalent with that in which they were sent off. E.g. If a player is sent off at an NTS event, they will serve their suspension within the next NTS event that they attend.

If a player is sent off for a Period of Time for behavioural or unsporting conduct, the player and their club should expect a letter of warning from the ETA.

If a player is sent off for a Period of Time for behavioural or unsporting conduct MORE THAN ONCE (e.g. minimum of twice) within a tournament or domestic season, that player should expect to serve a ONE match ban with immediate effect or at the next competition equivalent with that in which they were sent off. E.g. If a player is sent off at an NTS event, they will serve their suspension within the next NTS event that they attend.

If a player is sent off for the remainder of the game, that player will be suspended for THREE matches with immediate effect, not including the game that the player was sent off in. If the ban begins at the conclusion of a tournament, the ban will commence at the next competition equivalent with that in which they were sent off. E.g. If a player is sent off at an NTS event, they will serve their suspension within the next NTS event that they attend. Please note that if a player is to serve their suspension at the next tournament, the player must be present and intend to play in the matches preceding their suspension.

The ETA appointed Disciplinary and Advisory Committee reserves the right to deal with behavioural and unsporting conduct retrospectively if reported by a match, tournament, governing body (ETA) official, opposition player, or spectator.

The ETA appointed Disciplinary and Advisory Committee reserves the right to decrease or increase the punishments above in light of the severity of certain behavioural or unsporting conduct

CLICK HERE to download the Referees' Incident Report Sheet

CLICK HERE to see the FIT Code of Behaviour Policy

We are England Touch

We are the players. We are the supporters, willing us on. We are the medals, waiting to be won. We are the touchdowns, waiting to be scored. We are the men and women of all ages. We are the talent of today. We are the potential for tomorrow. We are one team. We are England Touch